Are Socrates's Views on Death Consistent Throughout the Apology?

Topics: Death Penalty, Death penalty, Plato Pages: 4 (1816 words) Published: November 24, 2010
“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Martin Luther King said these words urging the importance of living with a cause. Socrates was a man who strictly lived his life with a purpose, and according to Plato’s Apology, died for the right to practice philosophy. What perhaps is most interesting about Socrates’s view is his outlook on death. Death, to many, is a frightful end; something to be avoided for as long as one possibly can. Socrates disagrees, as seen most clearly in his very last speech prior to the conviction of his death. But was this acceptance of death with open arms Socrates’s view throughout the Apology? I believe yes, and it can be seen clearly first in Socrates’s defense speech, then the response to the question of what verdict Socrates himself sees fit, otherwise known as the epitimesis, and lastly in the speech immediately following the ruling of death. Since the beginning of the Apology, Socrates has proclaimed that he, in fact, knows “nothing” and because he understand this about himself, it makes Socrates wiser than most. I believe that this fundamental understanding of himself is the foundation for all of Socrates’s views, including his interesting take on death and the end. Throughout the defense speech as well as after, Socrates uses tactics that one convicted of a serious crime would do his best to avoid. Resorting to sarcasm, suggesting the overwhelming ignorance of the jurors, as well as very subtly over-exemplifying his own superior wisdom are all examples of his interesting behavior at court, that, many claim, resulted in Socrates condemning himself to death. During the defense speech, Socrates rhetorically asks himself why he would continue to partake in an activity that puts him in danger of the death penalty. He answers, “You are mistaken…if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to append his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider…whether he is acting justly...
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